I found both of these today at the thrift store I frequent often (Ohio Thrift Rules!!!) and 'Fresh Air' was still factory sealed with a Musicland price sticker on it for $4.19. Opening it felt weird, because it has likely been sealed since before my dear wife was even born. It features a really sweet version of "Eleanor Rigby"
for openers, along with "Wave" by Antonio Carlos Jobin and 60s staple "The Windmills of Your Mind" but most of the tracks are by Julius Wechter, the leader of the band. He was originally the marimba player for Martin Denny in the '50s, but started his own band in the early '60s. He also collaborated frequently with Herb Alpert, and appears on most of the early Tijuana Brass albums. They had an extensive discography on early A&M, and even had a number of television show appearances ('Smothers Brothers' etc.).
'Fowl Play' features the Beatles 'She's Leaving Home" (really subtle, well done, even has nice vocals), "Along Comes Mary" and S&G's "Sounds of Silence.' For '60s Exotica (if you could call it that) it's actually pretty tasteful, not at all muzak-y, yet not over the top on the horns. I love the marimba, and Wechter was a master of the instrument. In researching this music I found that there is an whole underground of early A&M records fans, even a website ( http://www.amcorner.com/ )where once can find a wealth of information on all early A&M (it cuts off at the Carpenters). It even has a page on BMB and Julius Wechter Q&A as well. He passed away from cancer in 1999, age 63.
One of the things I love most about early A&M is, as was the norm in the '60s and '70s, the inner-sleeves that pictures other A&M artists! I used to sit and stare at these (mostly the Atlantic and Atco ones) for however long it took to listen to the record back when I was a kid, daydreaming that I could someday have all of the records, including those of both Springfield's (Dusty AND Buffalo!), and even some of those saucy Bent Fabric covers.